Songkran : Thai Culture and Water Carnival

As the chilly snow of winter melted away, it is time to officially say hello to the warm sunlight of spring. Many people have told me that spring sunlight is the sign of beginning. Never had I believed this claim until I have experienced it myself. The calm and fulfilling sunshine has proved to effectively serve the purpose of giving lives back to nature. I know that I am overreacting, because I always am. But literally, Thailand has none of these weathers. Particularly in the South where I am from, there are only the so called “hot season” and “rainy season”. Right now, in April, it is the hottest time of the year. The long and enduring sunlight, however, makes Thailand the optimal place for tourists. That being said, what appeals to foreigners the most is not the weather. Rather, it is the unique cultures Thailand has to offer for each season.

The first and most important one is just around the corner. “Songkran Days” or the “Thai New Year” is celebrated from April 13th to April 15th. Water, the symbol of this festival, signifies the fresh start of New Year, and represents the purging of all ills and misfortune. At home, young people would pour scented water onto the hands of their parents and elders as a mark of humility and respect. In return, the elders would give them blessing as an auspice for the upcoming year. No matter how superstitious it sounds, this belief grounds for the sense of gratitude and respectfulness of young Thai people to the elders, and provides time for family reunification. During this festival, Thai people make a merit by offering food to the monk, bathing the Buddha statues, and releasing live birds and fish sold in the market. The hot weather has also given rise to Songkran as a water carnival. Groups of families, friends and strangers alike usually line up and wait along the street to splash water at the passersby. It is really enjoyable to get soaked at this hottest time of the year! Songkran is, therefore, the optimal festival enriched with both cultural and recreational value. It is the event that you should never miss if you visit Thailand!

Traditional practice-Songkran Festival

Traditional practice-Songkran Festival

Water Carnival- Songkran Festival

Water Carnival- Songkran Festival

This entry was posted in The Open Window.... Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply